When transferring wealth to the next generation, many families prefer to make gifts to younger family members in trust, rather than gifting the assets outright. Gifting assets to a trust has many advantages, including asset protection, tax planning and maintaining family control until the beneficiary reaches adulthood.
The first thing to realize is that as soon as you marry, your spouse is granted certain inheritance rights under law. However, these rights of inheritance can be waived or modified by using an anti-nuptial agreement, or as its more commonly known, a pre-nuptial agreement.
If you think Estate Planning is simply the creation of a will or trust, you are missing a large portion of information, and could potentially have assets that do not flow according to the plan you have set up in your will or trust.
Let’s face it: mortality is hard to think about and death is impossible to plan for. What is doable, however, is getting affairs and assets in order to prevent loved ones from inheriting a headache and legal fees in the event of an incident.
It was reported on the news recently that some of Aretha Franklin’s family members have found what they believe to be her will. It was handwritten, stained and crumpled up in a couch. The courts may or may not choose to honor it, depending on whether or not they are able to verify its authenticity.
The wife did not have a durable power of attorney authorizing her spouse to act as her agent in selling the property and now apparently lacked the capacity to sign one.
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